When most people think of wearing a braided hairstyle, the first thing that comes
to mind is a classic style like the French braid, or Herringbone braid. But braided
hairstyles can be much more complex and intricate, taking hours to complete. Few
women have the time or inclination to sit through hours of weaving and pulling to get a
hairstyle they might want to change tomorrow. So, we've come up with a braided
hairstyle that can be accomplished in less than half an hour.
Creating the Style: Braiding
We begin our demonstration with a manikin with dry hair that has been brushed
smooth. The manikin's hair is then lightly misted with a leave-in conditioner to moisten
and make it easier to handle while sectioning and braiding. The moistened hair is
divided into three panels - at the left side, top and right side - from the face to the
crown of the head. The hair at the back of the head (from the center crown to the
nape of the neck) is then bound into a snag-safe elastic band.
Using the French braid technique braid each of the front sections of the hair
beginning in the center section. Continue the braid as far as possible while keeping a
smooth-looking braid. Clip the tails of these braids forward out of your way and move
to the crown and nape area of the head.
At the back of the head, isolate the center section of hair by leaving down a
1-1/2 to 2 inch perimeter of hair at the hairline. Clip the hair at the perimeter to keep
it separate. Take the center section and divide it evenly into two vertical sections.
Choose one to begin working with and bind the other out of your way. Braid these
vertical sections in the French braid technique, once again continuing the braid as long as it can be maintained smoothly.
With these initial braids completed, we continue the style by taking the foremost
three braids and weave them into a three strand braid. As this braid reaches the
bottom of the two rear braid panels, pick them up and incorporate them into the central
braid. Bind the ends of this braid with a snag-safe elastic band and comb out the tail of the braid to make it smooth.
Creating the Style: Curls and Finishing
Now that we've completed the braiding portion of the style, we can release the clips
holding the hair along the perimeter. We finish off the style by making ½ inch slices
in the perimeter hair and forming spiral curls using our marcel iron. Be sure to mist
each slice of hair with hairspray and allow the curls to cool fully before handling them.
Once the perimeter hair has been curled, we can add curls to the tail of the
central braid by taking slices and forming barrel curls using the marcel iron alternating
in different directions. Allow these curls to cool, and then run your fingers through
the curls on the perimeter and tail to separate them and style them as desired.
Mist the whole head with hairspray and gently pat down any fly-away strands, and
ensure definition in the cascade of curls at the nape area.
The finished look is detailed and dressy, suitable for an afternoon occasion. It
can also be adorned with small jeweled pins or other accessories for evening or more formal wear.